Category Archives: Nature

Sights and smells of the great outdoors.

FOTD: New Needles

Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

I don’t generally think of conifer trees as growing new leaves. But they do – every spring!

Fir? Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

The contrast in color and the variety startled me when I saw these trees around a church in Ankeny, Iowa, U.S. My camera was in the car so I put it to use.

Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

“The needlelike leaves may be long or short, flat or round. … Most species are evergreen, keeping their needles all year. Needle leaf trees are also called conifers because most of them bear fruits called cones.”

– George A. Petrides, Peterson First Guide to Trees
Spruce? Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

In order to identify the trees with any certainty, I need to take the guidebook with me and go take a closer look at the trees. Using broad categories, I’m pretty sure there’s a pine, a spruce and a fir among these pictures.

White Pine? Photo: TLCark, 5/20/2020.

Thanks, Cee, for the FOTD Challenge … flowers, leaves, berries and such!

FOTD: Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees

May 2, 2020.
May 9, 2020.

I don’t know about you, but for me these days of COVID-19 pandemic seem to run one into another. Just the other day I said something about going to a niece’s High School graduation. My best beloved asked, “Where?” He was genuinely disappointed when I said we would go virtually like we go nearly everywhere else.

Stepping outside the house helps keep – or restore – some sanity. Even on overcast, gray days the natural world is keeping its beautiful annual transformation.

THREE CONSECUTIVE SATURDAYS

One set of Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees.

Along 36th Street, Ankeny, Iowa. May 2, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
Along 36th Street, Ankeny, Iowa. May 9, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
Along 36th Street, Ankeny, Iowa. May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

The trees are pretty when driving or walking by.
But I think the individual blossoms are prettier!

May 2, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
May 9, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

Even after the petals fall off, the remaining sepals, pistils and stamens have a beauty of their own. Notice the silhouettes against the sky.

May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

Hoping you are able to step outside and see something beautiful today.

Posted, in part, in response to Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

FOTD: Flowering Crabapple

Flowering Crabapple Branch against Blue Sky. Photo: TLClark, 5/9/2020.

Though delinquent in posting anything to my blog, I have taken some photos in the last three weeks! These are of the same flowering crab apple tree on three consecutive Saturday mornings. Spring is fading into summer.

May 2, 2020. Photo: TLCLark.
May 9, 2020. Photo: TLClark.
May 16, 2020. Photo: TLClark.

Posted, in part, in response to Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Spring Leaves

Leaves on Maple Tree. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

The wind is blowing.
Again.
Or, maybe, still.

Unfolding Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

I thought about taking pictures of new leaves today.
But the tree branches won’t stay still.

New Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

So these pictures from Saturday’s stroll will have to suffice.

Crab Apple Leaves and Buds. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/202.

Posted in response to Cee’s FOTD challenge.
And because flowers and leaves always bring a smile to my face.

Flowering Trees

Crab Apple Blossoms. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

The Crab Apple visible out our back windows is gloriously pink. So I took my camera when my beloved and I went for a short stroll on Saturday.

Easy on the Eyes but not the Nose. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

Since I had the camera I paused to take pictures of the white blossoms along our street. I have no idea what they are and am to lazy to try to find out. Just want to enjoy the colors and shapes and textures.

Another White Flower. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

Posted as part of Cee’s Flower-of-Day Challenge.

Photo Challenge – Hope

Canada Goose on Nest. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

“Oh, they’re back,” I thought as one Canada goose stood at attention and honked at me to stay away. Another was floating in the run-off pound. A third was sitting on the nest. Canada Geese don’t seem to ever fully leave this area; my thought had to do with the nest.

It’s a sign of hope. The pond used to be an excellent place for a goose to raise a family. Four or five years ago there would be six or more goslings there. Occasionally the parental units would stop traffic to march the young ones across the street to the larger neighborhood pond.

But then a medical building went up just south of it. And now new condos are being built to the west. I saw the geese and their nest a year ago. But never did see any goslings. Hope springs eternal.

Canada Goose & Mallard Ducks. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

The nest was my first thought for the Tuesday Photo Challenge of HOPE. So I grabbed the camera when my best beloved and I headed out for a walk yesterday. One Canada goose was on the nest; a pair of mallard ducks was nearby.

The walk itself – with proper physical distancing from whoever else might be out – provides a bit of hope in this era of COVID-19 pandemic. Getting out of the house to enjoy sunshine and blue sky is as much for our mental health as it is for physical well-being.

An annual sign of hope are swelling leaf buds. I marvel at the variety. Here are a few pictures from our corner of the world on the last day of March.

Leaf Buds. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Leaf Buds with Shadow. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Illusion of a Shadow. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Look Up. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Look In (Miniature Lilac). Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

Photo Challenge: Portal

Beardshear Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 6/25/2019.

make the climb
open a door
for higher education

Wandering on the Iowa State University campus while my beloved participated in a study, I was pleasantly surprised to find Beardshear Hall. From the stories he tells, Beadshear was his home away from home back in the day he was working on his Ph.D.

Tulip Garden, Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 5/4/2018.

step through the gate
to enjoy the tulips

I’m more inclined to take pictures of flowers than I am to photograph gates. But this gate caught my attention on a beautiful spring day at Reiman Gardens.


Posted in response to Dutch goes the Photo! Tuesday Photo Challenge – Portal.

Flower of the Day Challenge: Advent Flowers

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

We bought a bunch of mixed flowers several weeks ago, choosing purple and white because we were still in the season of Advent. Just a few of the blooms remain.

While drying dishes last evening I noticed the stigma of the alstromeria (commonly called Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas or Parrot Lily). Though the flower is nearing the end of its vase life, the stigma was still standing straight up.

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

Though the flower is nearing the end of its vase life, the stigma was still standing straight up. Wondering if I could capture it in a photo, I left my husband to finish the dishes while I played with the camera. I’m pleased with the result – the automatic flash highlighted the flowers and completely darkened the background. The only editing of the photos was cropping.

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

Posted in response to Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge.